U.S. players with most to prove ahead of Mexico match
It is often a nebulous task to define progress within the United States men's national team, especially in non-World Cup years. The significance of the team's results varies based on the quality of opponent, the availability of the players and the overall notoriety of the tournaments the team plays in. However, there is little ambiguity for U.S. team progress in 2015, as manager Jurgen Klinsmann has clearly stated that his goal is for the team to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
The team's Gold Cup semifinal loss to Jamaica means that the U.S. must now beat Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup playoff in October. This one-off game puts added pressure on U.S. players leading up to the CONCACAF Cup, and the team's Tuesday friendly against Brazil will be the last chance for certain players to prove that they can help lead the U.S. to a big victory.
As Klinsmann stated prior to last week's friendly versus Peru, these lead-up matches serve as proving grounds: "We want to see, in these next two games, them making a real clear statement that, 'I belong in that game. I'm the one for the big moments.'"
Here is a look at five U.S. players with the most to prove -- both on Tuesday versus Brazil and with their clubs over the next month -- in order to earn a starting spot or playing time against El Tri on Oct. 10....